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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000376.txt from 2003/06

From: "James O'Briant" <>
Subj: [kl] Duct Tape Answers
Date: Thu, 12 Jun 2003 02:22:04 -0400

Jim Hobby posted a question about what appeared to be duct tape wrapped
around a trombone bell. I forwarded the question to the Trombone-L
List, and received three replies already. One is from another player
who knows the player with the duct tape. Here are Jim Hobby's original
message and the three replies from the Trombone-L List.


Jim Hobby wrote:

I was watching the ARTS network on satellite at about 5 minutes before
10P (CT), waiting for the evening news & weather, and they played the
fourth movement of Beethoven's 5th. (Mehta, combined Berlin Phil &
Israel Phil, in a concert at Tel Aviv.)

Of course, the cameras cut from section to section. They cut to the
trombone section, and my reaction was, "what was that???" Luckily, they
got a second shot. and it seems very clear that one of the 3rd (I
think) bones had duct tape wrapped around his bell. A couple of inches
of brass showing, then several inches of duct tape, and then back to the
regular brass.

Anyone ever seen this or know why someone would do this? A leak,
perhaps? Maybe it makes it the tone darker. <d,r,g> Duct tape is
supposed to be good for everything, but this looked strange! (They run
the same tape every 8 hours for several days, so they should show that
clip tomorrow at 4AM (CT) and 10AM (CT) if anyone else has access to the

Just a curiosity ...


Jim Scott replied:

There was a fad about 20 years ago to wrap some duct tape around a
specific part of the bell. This was supposed to make the sound darker,
and allow the bell flare to vibrate more - adding to projection. It was
a little like some of the theories surrounding where braces are placed,
and how heavy they are. There were several prominent players in New York
back then who experimented with this, but they all gave it up within a
year or so. Christian Lindberg's Resistance Balancers sound like a more
high-tech version of this to me. I guess that this might have a positive
effect on some instruments and for some players, but there aren't too
many using this method anymore.


Henry Kavett replied:

I remember a bunch of guys in the early 70's who put duct tape on their
bells to deaden/darken their sound. I'm not sure it worked or not. It
must have killed the overtones...


But the most authoritative of all is this reply from a player who knows
the trombonist in question:

Eliezer Aharoni, Bass Trombonist, Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra replied:

The bass trombonist of the Israeli Philharmonic - Micha Davis - (a
great player and person) used to put the duct tape on his bell as it
reduces the overtones and allows very loud playing without getting a
nasty edge to the sound. This is an idea he received from Don Harwood.

Currently, Micha is not using it anymore, feeling his current equipment
(Bach 50B and a custom large mouthpiece made for him in Israel) are
producing the result without needing the duct tape.


So there you have it .....

Jim O'Briant
Bayside Music Press
Gilroy, CA 95020

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